Travel is more than having a destination in mind. It is discovering a place in your heart you’ve never been before”- Anon.
We had always wanted to travel to Africa, and over the years developed a massive desire to one day experience a “Safari” for ourselves. One might say we had achieved our bucket list holiday.
Our destination was Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar.
We had chosen to do a “fly in safari”, which avoided travelling on the horrendous roads from camp to camp, sometimes taking as many as nine hours. Our eight-seater aircraft that transported us was the perfect mode of travel, so maximum time could be spent on safari. Landing on a dirt airstrip in the midst of savannah that stretched to the horizon leaves a lasting impression. Each of our four boutique camp/lodges offered a very unique experience; the term glamping springs to mind. We were never disappointed; the wildlife in the Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara all seemed to get the memo that we had arrived, and we had big expectations. We saw the “big five” within 24 hours of arriving at our first camp. On another morning we experienced the thunder of a herd of 3-4,000 Wildebeest crossing the Mara River – the resident crocodile only giving a half-hearted lunge to try and catch lunch. We suspect he’d already enjoyed a large breakfast. Just over the hills in the distance were another 250,000 animals grazing until the feed ran out, and they too would make the crossing. A herd of approximately 30 hippopotamus, including young, were relaxing in a large pool five hundred metres upstream from this crossing point.
The safari company we had entrusted for this special holiday were faultless in their operation – nothing was too much trouble and absolutely everything was included. Our guides possessed eyesight so keen, they seemed to be able to see the flick of a lion’s tail behind a tree 500 metres away! This, combined with their knowledge of the various animals’ habits, enabled us to find many species that would have otherwise remained unobserved. Although, we did have a moment of concern, when we became bogged in a gully whilst looking for the pride of lions that had killed and partially ate a zebra which we found stashed in the fork of a tree. Immediately after extricating ourselves from the muddy gully, a very large lioness stood up and walked out of the long grass only eight metres from where we had just been! Observing a pride of lions, laying in the shade after a feed, from only seven or eight metres is a humbling experience.
Vervet monkeys stealing bread rolls from the breakfast bar in Lake Manyara, a baby elephant, all of one metre high, charging our vehicle until he thought better of it and rushed back to Mum, or driving through a herd of animals that stretched to the horizon are things you will remember forever.
After this magical experience, we flew to Zanzibar for five nights to snorkel in the crystal clear waters off the island. We explored the historic town of Stonetown and marvelled at the fascinating architecture. The ornately carved entry doors are a special feature. The stories of the spice and slave trade were both confronting and captivating.
Having now returned from this holiday, we agree that the experience was way beyond our expectation and would do it again in a heartbeat. If you want to hear more, drop in to see us at Quadrant Travel and Journeys in Vernon St, Coffs Harbour.